Labour Law Specialist Advice on Employment Contracts in South Africa
If you have just started a business and want to employ people, seek legal guidance from labour law specialists to ensure that you comply with all the labour law regulations. Our team of labour law specialists is here to assist with aspects ranging from the drafting of legislative compliant employment contracts to setting up labour policies.
We briefly look at employment contracts below, giving you an indication of why it is important to make use of labour law specialists to ensure that your company stays on the right side of the law in South Africa.
Ensure the Relevancy of Contracts
Word the employment contract to be in line with the requirements of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Keep in mind that the employee could use the wording of the contract to get out of job responsibilities. As such, you want to avoid it being too narrow.
Include provisions for possible changes in the requirements of the job and keep in mind that the employee’s position may change in the future. In this way, you can avoid a situation where an employee argues that he/she does not have to perform a specific task because it does not fall within the original job description.
To this end, you can appreciate the foresight and legal expertise of our labour law specialists to ensure legally binding, legislative compliant, and flexible employment contracts.
You may in future need to relocate the employee to another branch or perhaps another town. If the employment contract is too rigid, it makes it difficult to get the employee to relocate for work purposes. Don’t leave out provisions for overtime work. Include in the agreement that the employee agrees to work overtime as requested by the employer.
The initial policies and procedures in place may need to be changed as your business grows. Make provisions for this in the employment contract by stipulating that the policies and procedures are subject to change by you, as the employer. You want to avoid a situation in future where you cannot change a policy without consent from an employee. It is best to discuss the wording of the policies and procedures with our team of labour law specialists to avoid having restrictive policies in place that can hinder your ability to restructure as needed.
Don’t make the mistake of being too lenient because you only have one or two key employees. The same benefits need to apply when you employ more workers. This can become an expensive endeavour, which has the potential of seriously affecting your business’s cash flow.
Intellectual Property Protection
In order to prevent employees from disclosing confidential intellectual property information, you can stipulate that your company has the right to monitor, intercept, and review the use of your company’s information technology and communication resources.
Protection Against Fraud or Theft of Information and Resources
The employment contract is not meant as a contract to protect your company against unethical actions of an employee. Instead, it is an agreement that regulates the employment relationship. As such, it must be fair and in line with the labour law requirements of the country. However, your company also has the right to protect your resources. Depending on the type of business and industry in which your company operates, you can stipulate that the employee agrees to random searches without violation of the employee’s right to privacy. If you, for instance, operate a diamond mine, the employee can agree to random searches to prevent the theft of valuable gemstones. Here too, we encourage you to get help from labour law specialists regarding the appropriate wording of the contract.
Call our labour law specialists on 011 234 2125 for assistance regarding the drafting of employment contracts and the handling of labour related issues.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant to the date of publishing – December 2018.